When the recession was reaching its depth in 1982, Kathy Fors and Marilyn Chalet were chatting over a cup of coffee and discovered they were both helping out needy neighbors from their cupboards in the Wheatland Estates Mobile Home Park. “We were both exhausting our cupboards, and yet it seemed that the more we gave, the more people we found who were going hungry, “ said Kathy.
Said Rick Fors, Kathy’s husband, “I made a New Year’s resolution asking God to please open my eyes to people in need. A few days later, some neighbors came over and asked if we could feed their children. It got to be that we were feeding several families out of our cupboard. It was a strange coincidence.”
In 1983, born out of the desire to assist and serve the community, Marilyn Chalet and Rick & Kathy Fors turned a community center into a food pantry and a camper into emergency housing, and so the Sharing Center began.
Even with Kathy’s untimely passing in 1996, the Center carried on, expanding services and programs for the communities in Western Kenosha County. Over the years, it found a home in New Munster, Silver Lake, and Paddock Lake before its current location since 2012 in Trevor.
In 2014, Rick’s reconnection with the Center was heartfelt and humbling. During his first visit to its new location in Trevor, director Sharon Pomaville and Rick backfilled the last 30 years of history, dreams, accomplishments, joys, and challenges. When asked, “What do you think of the place?” Rick responded, “I couldn’t be more proud. It’s everything Kathy and I wanted to do ourselves. When Kathy and I married, the Sharing Center became our ‘baby’. It’s beautiful.”
Sharon said, “I longed to meet Rick and Kathy. Rick felt like a long-lost kindred spirit. We talked for hours the first time we met. The Center’s work today was exactly what their dream for it was 30 years earlier. It was a day I will never forget.”
Rick passed in 2016, and both Rick and Kathy’s children are still a part of the Center today. In the theme of Rick’s, “Show me the way” prayer, the Center continues to lead the way in Kenosha County to best serve to the community, and work toward ending homelessness and hunger both in Kenosha County and nationally.
Kathy, Rick, and Marilyn, we thank you for your tireless efforts early on, clear vision, leading by example, and for laying a solid groundwork that has carried us for nearly 40 years. Sincerely, we thank you.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Jenni Hansen, Attorney, Hansen & Clerary, LLC
Danny Djordjevic, Social Worker, Professional Services Group
Ed Egan, Owner at Double E Workplace Solutions LLC,
Sheree Hagen, Office Manager, Hagen Homes LLC
Lisa Howe, Real Estate Broker, Re / Max Advantage
Shawn Keena, Director of Warehousing, Gordon Food Service
Kathy Koshgarian, President & CEO, Food For Health Wisconsin
Tom Neave, Vice Principal, Westosha Central High School
Abbie Rathmann, Associate Director of Brand Operations, AbbVie
Our Commitment to Equity: The Sharing Center will develop sustainable practices and programs to actively engage individuals with diverse identities (race, ethnicity, economic, age) to be included in all levels of the organization which will build and maintain an organizational culture that values people of all backgrounds and foster an environment of respect, openness, learning, integrity, honesty and a sense of fun. The Center’s commitment to diversity and inclusion will be evident in our organizational structure, policies, procedures, board of directors, individual staff members, volunteers, donors, and guide our organizational goals and future vision. The Sharing Center will create an equitable environment by promoting active participation of all stakeholders to ensure that the organization is a welcoming and affirming place where diverse individuals are an essential part of all organizational functions.